Adrienne Pilon

Essential Service


Six days a week, that boxy little white truck

comes humming down the street

and my heart beats a little faster.

I head down the driveway to the mailbox

(we don’t go many places these days)

in a slow, casual stroll, a wave for the neighbor, or,

if no one’s looking, a flat-out run embodying

that tingle of anticipation, the expectation,

the spark of hope for a Salutation.

There’s the momentary excitement   

of making sure the copperheads that live

in the green underbrush aren’t underfoot,

and gently brushing away today’s spiders

before pulling down the metal handle to look

inside. Some days, it’s a little deflating.

There might be a takeout menu from Golden Dragon

or Domino’s. Circulars from the grocery store.

Oversize postcards featuring politicians and

their families, or a sewer bill from the city.

Other days, though, magic!

A cousin sends a card with an old photo tucked inside.

A letter on heavy linen paper comes from a Senator

who agrees to disagree; there’s a thank-you from

someone who lives across town, but took the time

to pen a few lines inside a card

that says, “Thank You” across the front.

Contact lenses arrive in a sturdy box!

There’s the ballot that shows up, on time,

a reminder that democracy might still have a chance.

From a friend across the country there’s a fatly-folded,

handwritten missive in which hopes and dreams,

joys and disappointments are cataloged.

A former co-worker sees a painting at the Met,

thinks of me, sends it in postcard form.

There’s a letter written on lined white paper,

in perfect penmanship, from a man stuck

in the downtown jail, awaiting bail.

It’s worth the spiders, the underbrush and

even the possible copperhead sighting.

And the postage is still a bargain.

Six days a week, in hail or high

water or hellish summer sun,

despite disease or discord,

the world is brought to my mailbox,

transforming what was always necessary

into essential joy. 


Adrienne Pilon is a teacher, traveler and writer. She's published here and there.

1 comment:

The views and opinions expressed throughout belong to the individual artists and may or may not coincide with those of the other artists (or editors) represented within the magazine. Hobo Camp Review supports a free-for-all atmosphere of artistic expression, so enjoy the poetry, fiction, opinions, and artwork within, read with an open mind, and comment wisely. Thanks for stopping by the Camp!